March 01, 2017

'Screen Time': The Downsides of Constant Screen Staring



 Nowadays, most people constantly keep their heads in their phones. Whether its Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, our phones in our hands connect us to the world. We can update anyone, about anything, at any moment. Any imaginable subject can be found, from aardvarks to xylophones.  After sitting in the office all day, on a cell phone and computer, unwinding that night might consist of watching the television. Being connected to the on-goings of the world can be great. But is all that time staring at a screen good for us?

Our constant interaction with screens has shown in some studies to harm sleep patterns. Screens, by design, emit light. The specific light given off by electronic screens is referred to as blue light. Now there are studies that are for and against blue light. Depending on how the eye absorbs the blue light and the time of day, it can be beneficial for energy levels and for regulating sleep patterns. When people are exposed to blue light at night, it throws off sleep patterns. Blue light traditionally was absorbed by the human eye from being outside. Since we all now very electronically involved in the wee hours of the night, this light is, in many cases, a constant.

Most people’s contact with the Internet on a daily basis is social networking. We tweet, update, post, and upload, for our followers and friends to see. But the downside of this constant interaction can lead to emotional issues. Social media is mainly made up of everyone posting about the good moments in their life. No one would make a Facebook to post solely everything terrible that happened to, they would get no likes. So, let's say I’ve had a bad day. I then scroll down seeing everyone eating delicious food, and smiling in every picture. This will only reinforce an idea about how less better off I am. It is not going to make me feel better about myself. The negative side of social media is that it is not necessarily giving the full picture. Life isn’t easy and it isn’t always happy.

Writing anything about social media always makes me feel like I’m talking about the Matrix. And honestly, the way that everyone is connected, you could call it that. The ability to call up any information or contact almost everyone in the world is great. But it has its downsides. Everything needs to be used in moderation and I too have to check myself at times. A practice I do when I’m at my office, is every 45 minutes or so, I take a break and either look at a far away point in the office or out the window. This allows my eyes to shift their focus and helps to maintain my vision. I already wear glasses/contact lenses so I try to do anything to avoid my eyes from becoming worse. 'Til next type – M.

Written by Michael Dour